Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

Answers

Can graduate students visit the FoodBank?

Yes, graduate students can visit the Guelph Student FoodBank.

Can GSA help me find a place to stay in Guelph?

The GSA does not specialize in housing but there are several resources students can use to search for housing options.

Can I add my family members to the Student Health and Dental Plan after the opt-in deadline passes?

Unfortunately, late opt-ins are not permitted. Each year, you are given one opportunity to purchase family coverage for your spouse and/or dependent(s) by completing an application form at the Student Benefits Plan Office and paying the family coverage fee. All family add-on forms, and applicable fees must be received by the applicable deadline for the semester period of enrolment.

Family coverage does not carry over from previous years and must be completed every year. Visit the MyStudentPlan Coverage website for important information on family opt-ins.

Can I attend GSA activities free of cost?

Yes, all GSA activities are free to attend!

Can I book Grad Lounge to celebrate my Master's/PhD Defense for free?

Yes, you can book the Defense Table to celebrate your Thesis Defense with your colleagues.

Can I book the Grad Lounge for events?

Yes, with adequate notice and schedule dependent, you can book the Grad Lounge for events.

Can I enroll in the Student Health and Dental Plan if I am not a member of GSA?

No, only enrolled full-time graduate students are part of the Student Health and Dental Plan. To confirm enrollment in the plan, please contact the Student Benefits Plan Office at guelphplan@mystudentplan.ca.

Can I get bus pass for family members?

The Bus Pass is for University of Guelph students only. Only students with valid student IDs can use the pass.

Can the GSA point me towards counselling services?

Counselling Services are offered through Student Wellness Services. Please reach out to Student Wellness Services to book an appointment.

Can the GSA point me towards OSAP resources?
Do graduate students get a discount at the Grad Lounge?

It is our priority to give affordable services to graduate students at the Grad Lounge. Please stop by the Lounge for discounts and weekly specials! The Lounge is located on the 5th floor of the University Centre. Please use the North Tower stairs or elevator.

Does the GSA have dedicated counselling space?

The GSA has a dedicated Mental House Space in UC Room 531 for the purpose of confidential weekly graduate student Counselling Services.

Peter Wedel
Counsellor/Therapist
Msc, MFT, RP, RMFT

Does the GSA help to resolve academic disputes?

Yes, the GSA can guide you towards the best process for resolving any academic disputes.

Does the GSA host activities specially for graduate students?

Yes, the GSA hosts many events like paint nights, quizzes, virtual games, trivia, etc.

Follow the GSA on social media or visit the GSA Events page for more information.

How are elections conducted?

GSA elections and referenda are conducted electronically where the ballots for voting are sent through your U of G email.

How can graduate students find help during financial emergencies?

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) administers the Graduate Students' Association/University Graduate Student Compassionate Bursary Fund. The bursary is allocated on a case-by-case basis.

How can graduate students get hired at the FoodBank?

Please contact the Guelph Student FoodBank directly.

How can I follow the GSA and the Fifth on social media?
How can I get involved in the GSA?

All GSA members have the right to participate in all GSA events, including, but not limited to, meetings of the GSA Board of Directors, Annual General Meeting (AGM), social events, elections, by-elections, and referenda, unless specified in the constitution and bylaws.

GSA members who wish to join the GSA Board of Directors may run for election as a General Director (departmental representative or community representative) or an Executive position, in accordance with the GSA Constitution and Bylaws.

How can I make a claim through the Student Health and Dental Plan?

Visit the MyStudentPlain Registration and Claims website for information on making claims.

CUPE 3913 offers extended coverage for teaching assistants and sessional lecturers after basic GroupNet coverage has been exhausted.

How can I receive a Defense Mug?

Please contact gsa@uoguelph.ca to request a Defense Mug.

How can I receive valuable information from the GSA?

The GSA manages a listserv in which valuable information regarding the bus pass, elections, notice of AGM and more are sent to graduate students. This listserv is updated once a year in September. If you are not a part of the listserv and wish to be added at any time, please email the GSA general email (gsa@uoguelph.ca) to request you be added. The GSA also sends a monthly newsletter which is distributed to each department through the GSA General Directors.

How can I register for GroupNet and generate my benefits card?

Please visit the MyStudentPlan Registration and Claims website for more information on GroupNet registration and the benefits card.

I have a question regarding a graduate student matter, who should I contact?

All questions can be directed to the GSA general email (gsa@uoguelph.ca) account and will be directed to the correct Executive for response.

If you wish to contact a GSA Executive directly, you may contact them at the below addresses.

Executive Email Portfolio
GSA President gsapres@uoguelph.ca GSA operations, administrative concerns
GSA Vice President Internal gsavpint@uoguelph.ca Elections, Board of Directors, Mediation and Conflict Resolution
GSA Vice President Finance gsavpfin@uoguelph.ca Health and Dental Plan, GSA Grants and Bursaries
GSA Vice President External gsavpext@uoguelph.ca Transit, Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP), City of Guelph
I have an event that I would like the GSA to promote, how can I do so?

The GSA distributes a monthly newsletter. Events can be submitted on or before the first day of the month you wish your event to be in the newsletter.

Newsletter posts are at the discretion of the GSA Executive and all posts must align with the GSA mission.

Newsletter submissions can be sent to gsaact@uoguelph.ca.

What are the important deadlines for enrolling into the Student Health and Dental plan?

It is a student's responsibility to know the opt-in and opt-out deadlines each year. Please visit MyStudentPlan and select University of Guelph CSA and GSA for important dates.

What are the responsibilities of GSA Activities and Communications Coordinator (ACC)?

The ACC plans and executes activities and events for graduate students. The ACC is also responsible for creating and distributing the newsletter, as well as maintaining the GSA social media channels.

What are the responsibilities of GSA Chair?

The GSA Chair presides over all meetings of the Board of Directors and the Annual General Meeting in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order.

What are the responsibilities of GSA Chief Returning Officer (CRO)?

The CRO presides over all GSA elections, by-elections, and referenda.

What are the responsibilities of GSA Office Manager?

GSA Office Manager supports the Executive team by running the day-to-day operations of the GSA and acts as the first point of contact for all GSA enquiries.

What are the responsibilities of the GSA Executives?

The main responsibilities of the GSA Executive include but are not limited to, ensuring GSA representation at all meetings between student leaders and University administration, meeting with the Vice Provost of Student Affairs, maintaining communication with the Central Student Association (CSA) and other student organizations and ensuring graduate students are advocated for at the University of Guelph.

What are the responsibilities of the GSA General Directors?

Participating in Board meetings, communicating updates about the department and sending newsletters to the represented department, etc.

What coverage do I have under the Student Health and Dental Plan?

Find the most up to date details on health and dental coverage on the MyStudentPlan Coverage website.

What GSA bursaries are available for grad students?

The GSA allocates Activities Grants (PDR), Travel Grants and Childcare Bursaries. Contact gsa@uoguelph.ca or gsavpfin@uoguelph.ca or visit the GSA Awards and Bursaries page for more information.

What is the difference between CUPE and the GSA?

The GSA works to advance the academic and social goals of the graduate students at the University of Guelph through advocacy, social, and financial resources. The GSA is the recognized primary graduate student government body, as such the GSA is the organization that is recognized by the University to seek grad student members on academic boards and committees.

CUPE acts as a liaison for teaching assistants and sessional lecturers through a Collective Agreement that regulates the terms and conditions of the employment of members of the Local's bargaining units.

The GSA and CUPE 3913 are autonomous from one another at the University of Guelph.

What is the GSA?

The Graduate Students' Association (GSA) is your official representative at the University of Guelph. Whether in negotiations with university administration, participation on various university committees, or through interaction with other student organizations on campus, the GSA is making sure the interests of graduate students are taken into consideration.

The mission of the GSA is to advance the academic and social goals of the graduate students of the University of Guelph through advocacy, social, and financial resources.

When are elections held for GSA Executive positions?

The election for executive positions is held in March of each year through a self-nomination process. Please refer to the GSA Constitution and Bylaws for more information on eligibility.

When are elections held for GSA General Director seats?

General Director Elections are held in September of each year. A By-Election is held in January for General Director seats that are not filled in September. The only qualification to run for a seat on the GSA Board of Directors is to be a registered graduate student at the University of Guelph! All graduate students are encouraged to run for a seat through self-nomination process.

When can I collect my bus pass?

The GSA Office Manager distributes the bus pass on selected days and times.

Visit the GSA Homepage for updates and announcements about bus pass distribution.

Where can I confirm my enrollment in the Student Health and Dental Plan?

All inquiries regarding coverage and registration status must be directed to the Student Benefits Office.

Student Benefits Plan Office
UC Level 1, Room 108A
Email: guelphplan@mystudentplan.ca
Phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 54798

Where can I find information on the Student Health and Dental Plan?

Information regarding the Student Health and Dental plan can be found on the MyStudentPlan Guelph website.

Where do I submit my GSA Compassionate Bursary Fund application?

The Graduate Student Compassionate Bursary Fund is administered by The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS). Please email the application form along with relevant documentation directly to grschol@uoguelph.ca.

The Graduate Scholarships Officer will assist students in finding any other sources of support as well as making an initial determination of the amount of support available from this fund.

Who can apply for OSAP?

All post-secondary students can apply for OSAP.

Who can I contact at the GSA if I have an academic dispute?

Email the GSA VP Internal at gsavpint@uoguelph.ca with a summary of the issues and for scheduling a meeting to discuss the academic dispute.

Who is a member of the GSA?

Full-time and part-time graduate students at the University of Guelph are members of the GSA.

Who is covered under the Student Health and Dental Plan?

All full-time graduate students are covered under the plan. Part-time graduate students are not covered under the plan. If a student switches from full-time to part-time status, they will lose their coverage as of September 1.

Who is eligible to obtain a Defense Mug?

All graduate students can ask for a Defense Mug after either completion of a successful defense or completion of their program.

Why can I opt-out of the dental plan but not the health plan?

The Health Plan at the University of Guelph has always been mandatory for students.

The Dental Plan was voted in later than the Health Plan, with different terms that included an opt out with proof of alternate coverage.

A joint referendum was held by the CSA and GSA in Winter 2021 asking students if they would like to add an opt-out option to the Health Plan with a fee increase. The joint referendum failed to meet quorum and therefore the current universal plan remains in place. The results are binding, and the health plan remains mandatory for all full-time graduate students.